Red Apple Reading Program

Tutors too expensive for summer reading help? Consider the Red Apple Reading Program.You get a free 30-day trial, so use it all June and see what you think! Watch a quick video to check it out.

Then sign up here. You want Level C.


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Create Your Own Book!

You have the ideas. Create your own book and then have the school order it for your class!


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Using Video To Enhance Your Sustainability Lessons!

Using Video To Enhance Your Sustainability Lessons!

Dean Kindig (, Learning Resource Teacher

Kids love to be stars.  Making videos that document your sustainability lessons goes a long way to facilitating parent-child communication about this important topic, which bears huge benefits for you, your students, parent engagement, and Mother Earth.

  • Set up a YouTube Channel.  (Go to , click upper right, add account)


  • Set up a Vimeo Channel.  (Go to , click Channels, Create New Channel)


  • IPad: Run the camera that comes with iPad, slide the setting to Video instead of Photo, press the red button, and press again when done. Press the image at bottom right to view, and the box with the arrow at bottom left to upload to YouTube or Vimeo (Name it by YYYY-mm and Title, and remember to choose Unlisted before uploading so they’re not searchable by the general public). You’ll have to specify your channel once, and then it remembers. When the video is uploaded, you are sent an email and link which you can forward to group lists. Remember to send them to your principal, superintendent, even local TV. In your sig line on your email, have links to your YouTube and Vimeo channels.
  •  Using a Video Camera: We sold DVD videos of our class plays for $10 (they cost less than $1 to make) and gradually bought 4 video cameras (2 cheap SANYOs that take MP4 videos only, a SONY Handicam, and CANON Vixia HFR400 for Hi-Def). I keep them all charged, ready to go. Now, you can get a pretty good video camera that takes HD video for $137.
  • Editing Video: If you edit Hi-Def video, you need a program that’ll handle it. I used Adobe Premiere’s school version but then discovered Wondershare Video Editor (download latest version). You’ll pay about $40 to activate it after trying it out for free. Paying for it removes the watermark over your video. It does everything the powerful editors do (cut out scenes, add titles, do cool transition, run credits) and will export directly to DVD, MP4 file on your computer, and YouTube.
  • Editing Video quickly: YouTube’s own editor isn’t completely intuitive, but you can watch this instructional video (7 min. 49 sec.) on YouTube if you have to edit out a section!
  • Do Not Photo List: Not everybody wants their child in videos. Know whom to avoid in your videos, and know whom to edit out! We went back to parents who’d put their child on a Do Not Photo list, explained how Unlisted videos worked, how the child’s last name is never used, and most were fine with it.
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States Stuff!

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State Capitals

Kiran got 48 capitals typed in in 10 minutes. He knew the other 2, but ran out of time. I double-dog dare you to try and beat it!

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Songs For a Second Grader

IMG_7202My student teacher, Courtney, has a game where her student goes around what is essentially a Monopoly board, with Post-Its that have this week’s spelling words on them. The student rolls a die with 1-5 on the faces, with “Dance Party” on the 6th face.

If the student rolls 1-5, they move the number of spaces and spell the word after looking at the word.

If the student rolls, “Dance Party”, they turn on the song and dance for 10 seconds. It’s adorable…

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Memory Super-Powers

I was fascinated by memory powers ever since seeing Harry Lorayne perform. I even bought a book, Good Memory, Good Student to see if I could teach some of his memory principles to my students. I found a PDF of one of his books that looks like it includes most of Harry Lorayne’s mnemonics:

Peg and Link could be taught to 3rd and 4th graders with some success. We’re learning all the states and capitals this way in Third Grade.


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Sensory Hacks For The Fidgety Child

This was sent to me by my good friend and previous Computer Coordinator at Harley, Jim Tiffin. Some good ideas in here which we can use in SSP…they might help you in class or at home, too!

I’ll add inexpensive fidget tools here:

Noise Reduction Headphones:

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Is My Child Ever Going to Stop Confusing b and d?

Yes, there is a developmental aspect to laterality, and almost no kids at the end of second grade reverse b-d (I have only 2 that occasionally do it in Gr.3, and none do in Gr.4).
Because it is developmental (like tooth eruption, for example), work on it bears little fruit until the child is ready. That said, we are doing things that allow it to happen… IF they are ready.
Examples would be:
(1) Circle all the b’s on a paper with random letters on it (Tracking Drill)
(2) Overlearn b, not d. Post a blue bat and ball on the front wall, toward the left hand side
(3) making a “bed” with one’s fists together, thumbs up
(4) putting a bracelet on the left hand
Also, at the top of every Gr.2 paper is a b with a bee next to it on the left corner, and a d with a dog in the right corner. We’re not even concerned about reversals until then.
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Context Power

We’ve been working on context strategies, and you may like this list of strategies we’re teaching for use at home or in the classroom.
1. Is it a word that means the same? (“The tourists were tr_ _ _ _ _ _ _ to another vil _ _ _ _”)
2. Can I guess the word using the first 3 letters? (“Once upon a time, in a deep, dark for _ _ _ there lived a wwicked wit _ _”)
3. Is it a phrase that I recognize? (“I took my mail to the post off _ _ _”)
4. Can the picture give me a clue what this word is?
5. Did the previous sentence give away what this word might be?
6. Is there a word or two inside this big word? (” s c a m p e r i n g “)
7. If I look past the word and read the rest of the sentence, does that help?
8. Can I use my experiences to guess the word or what the author is talking about?
9. If I draw a picture with my pencil or even with my mind, does it help me “see” what the author is saying?
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